» Posts Tagged ‘lenses’

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Excell +1 BMPCCOne of the most sought-after tools in video production these days is the Metabones Speed Booster, a tool which absolutely lives up its claims of making your lenses faster and wider, thus eliminating the dreaded crop factor from small sensor cameras like the Panasonic GH4, while giving you an additional stop of light. One of the problems that most low-budget filmmakers have with the Speed Booster, however, is that it’s not inexpensive by any stretch of the imagination. At $490 for the BMPCC Nikon version (and even more for the Canon EF adapter), you’re shelling out half the price of the camera just for an adapter. Luckily, Fotodiox Pro has just released the Excell+1 Micro 4/3 adapter for Nikon and Canon FD lenses at just a fraction of that price. More »

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FARGO -- Pictured: Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo -- CR: FX/Matthias ClamerWhen I first heard that the Coen brothers’ iconic Minnesota masterpiece Fargo was going to be adapted into an FX miniseries, my first thought was, “Well jeez, that sure is a swell idea,” (in a thick Minnesotan accent, of course). After my initial excitement, the skepticism set in. How could anybody possibly create an episodic variation on Fargo, while appealing to modern audiences and paying homage to the original? Despite the enormity of that undertaking, show-runner Noah Hawley and his team not only created a show that lives up to the Coen classic, but a show that is easily one of the year’s (if not the decade’s) best. The show’s DP Dana Gonzales recently sat down with Ben Consoli on the Go Creative Show to talk about everything from Fargo’s locations to its glorious, yet understated cinematography. More »

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It’s clear that cinematography is changing, both from technological and aesthetic perspectives. Images are being created in new, oftentimes fascinating ways, and the role of the cinematographer is evolving at a rapid pace. Cinematographers are now being included in the extensive visual effects processes that dominate contemporary Hollywood — although the extent to which some cinematographers are actually involved is hotly debated. All of this means that the future of cinematography as we know it today is an exciting, albeit uncertain one. However, there’s one area that might provide a new outlet for the cinematographers of tomorrow: video games. More »

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Fisheye hackFisheye lenses are great for so much more than skate videography and videos of cute animals being cute to cute polka music. They can also be used to create stunning, artistic images, as demonstrated by Australian filmmaker Max Piantoni. He has shared a short tutorial that shows you how he repurposed the lens in his Lomo Fisheye No. 2 still camera by mounting it onto an old Nikkor prime in order to capture some truly interesting, beautiful, and unpredictable video on his DSLR. More »

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Metabones Canon EF to MFT Speed BoosterLast year Metabones came out of nowhere with the Speed Booster, a product that seems too good to be true until you look at the results. While it does have its faults, your lenses do really become faster and wider, giving you a lot more options for mirrorless cameras that have smaller than full-frame sensors. We’ve heard rumors about a Metabones Canon EF to Micro 4/3 Speed Booster that would give full iris control on MFT cameras (we’ve already got the Nikon version which is all-manual), but nothing was concrete until now. The first product out of the gate is for the Blackmagic Pocket, which is going to make the camera that much more usable with full-frame lenses. More »

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Canon Call Center - Taking Care of Lenses and CamerasOver a long enough time period, cameras and lenses can take a beating, and the best way to keep them functioning and minimize issues like dust is to clean them on a frequent basis. What’s the best way to do that? While you will likely get different answers from different people, Canon has released a video that aims to provide some basic information on maintaining lenses and cameras. This might be a Canon-focused video, but the tips are certainly applicable to any brand out there. More »

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DIY ND FilterIf you’re anything like me, you probably spend some of your free time scouring sites like KEH and eBay for vintage lenses (and buying way more of them than you probably should). Occasionally, you come across lenses that, for all intents and purposes, are completely awesome minus one small flaw: they don’t have a traditional filter thread. In those cases, shooting in extremely bright conditions can be impossible without stopping down to f/16 or f/22 since you can’t attach a screw-on ND filter. Of course, a matte box is always a solution for this problem, but it’s a solution that can get really expensive really quickly. Luckily, there’s also a simple, quick, and inexpensive trick to help you block light on those tricky lenses. More »

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field-of-viewWhen you first start shooting photos and videos, understanding the basic differences between lenses is pretty simple — the way your images change between a wide angle and telephoto lens, for example, is overt. However, learning how to use perspective and field of view to your image’s advantage can really help you capture the look you’re going for, and Steve Perry shows you how to do that (using landscapes as an example) in this tutorial. Find out how to utilize the concept of perspective in order to become more intentional as you capture your shots. More »

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Bentley AdYou would think that an ad for Bentley, which makes some of the most expensive and luxurious cars on the planet, would pull out all the stops to make their product look absolutely perfect by using a camera that mirrored the opulence of its subject. But instead, the ad was shot on an everyday smartphone — an iPhone 5s to be exact, and the result was surprisingly gorgeous! Continue on to see what a beautiful 2014 Bentley Mulsanne looks like through the eye of a smartphone, as well as some behind the scenes footage that shows all of the added goodies these filmmakers used to make their images pop. More »

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Canon 16-35mm f4Canon was mostly quiet at NAB 2014 (at least on the lower end), but they have just announced two new lenses for those who are more budget-conscious, the full-frame EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM and the APS-C EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM. While both lenses are slower than some other Canon options in this range, they both have image stabilization, and the APS-C lens is designed with the quieter STM motors that should work better with autofocus during video. More »

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Sigma 50mmIn the never-ending backlog of new products that we have yet to cover, there’s one product that many of us have been waiting on for quite some time. I’m talking, of course, about a new addition to Sigma’s steller Art lineup of lenses, the 50mm f/1.4. Anybody who has used the 35mm f/1.4 or the 18-35mm f/1.8 knows that Sigma means serious business with their Art lenses, both in terms of performance and price. Needless to say, this is an exciting announcement for people who love the traditional 50mm focal length. Read on to get all of the details! More »

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cinema-lensNo two lenses are the same, namely if you’re talking about stills lenses and cinema lenses. There are pretty significant benefits in the latter, features like consistent front diameters, durability, and minimal (if not zero) lens breathing, but these do come at a cost. If you, like many of us, went the economical route and snatched up a bunch of stills lenses to lower the cost of adding to your gear repertoire, but are still wanting the added benefit of shooting with cine lenses, Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter offers a DIY tutorial on how to apply an inexpensive cine mod to your stills lenses, giving your whole set several desired features of a cine lens for a fraction of what it would cost to buy a single one. More »

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Lytro Illum Front AngleLytro introduced their light-field camera a little over 2 years ago, and if you haven’t heard of it, the technology inside lets you change the focus point of your images after you’ve already taken the shot. Part hardware and part software, the tech has been steadily improving (with other companies like Toshiba getting in on the action). The company has now introduced a brand new version called Illum that is capable of much higher quality than the previous camera, and it also takes the shape of a more traditional DSLR/mirrorless camera for better usability. Besides the possibilities with still images, we’ve also got word that they are working on using the technology for video capture as well. More »

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12 Years a SlaveOf the many excellent films to hit theaters last year, few were as powerful (or as well shot) as the Best Picture Oscar winner, 12 Years A Slave. It’s one of those rare films that transcends its utterly brutal subject matter and makes a powerful statement about the resiliency of the human spirit. Although much of that power is derived from terrific acting and direction, Sean Bobbitt’s masterful cinematography plays a critical role in allowing the emotionality of the story and its characters to emanate from the screen. In a pair of excellent interviews with Cinefii and Time LightBox, Bobbitt explains not only how he managed to craft such a gorgeous film, but also his theories behind portraying violence through film, working with Steve McQueen, and much, much more. Stick with us for a crash course in dramatic cinematography. More »

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Cooke AnamorphicsMany cinematographers love the look of anamorphic lenses. Many others are quite fond of Cooke Optics because of their distinctively warm and creamy aesthetic, lovingly known as the “Cooke Look.” Imagine the delight of cinematographers all over the world when Cooke announced during last year’s NAB that a brand new line of high-end anamorphic cinema lenses was in the works. Pure elation. Now we’ve got some of the first test shots to surface from these world-class anamorphic lenses, and the results are just what you’d expect, optical excellence and pure cinematic beauty. More »

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Zeiss OtusIn 2012, Zeiss announced that a brand new stills lens was in the works, one that would achieve perfection in optical performance through a no-compromise approach. Fast forward to November of 2013, and the company released the Otus 1.4/55, a prime lens that truly is uncompromising in all aspects of its design. While many of us are familiar with the Zeiss ZE glass for video work (great lenses), we have yet to see how the Otus would fare in a video setting. Luckily, filmmaker August Bradley managed to get his hands on an early pre-release version of the Otus, and he shot a delightful little concept piece called Zoetrope Optika that truly showcases the flawless performance of this marvelous lens. More »

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s16 F55In late 2013, Sony released version 3.0 of the firmware for their F5 and F55 cameras. This update added a veritable plethora of new features for these two cameras, including internal 4K and more options in regards to high frame rate shooting. However, one of the most interesting features of the update was the addition of what Sony calls “Center Scan Mode” which essentially crops the sensor in order to allow native use of lenses with a smaller image circle than s35, chiefly older s16 lenses. In another informative “At The Bench” video from AbelCine, Andy Shipsides breaks down everything you need to know about Center Scan Mode on the F55. Check it out. More »

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anamorphotWhen Letus announced their $1,700 anamorphic adapter, the AnamorphX, back in September, many of us were still waiting patiently for official news on SLR Magic’s answer to anamorphic shooting. That news came yesterday with the official announcement of their Anamorphot 1.33x 50. Originally pricing it to be around $1,500, SLR Magic has managed to keep the price point of the Anamorphot conducive to independent filmmakers, offering the adapter for $899. SLR Magic is currently taking pre-orders, but only until February 14th, after which the adapter (as well as their 77mm Achromatic Diopter set) will officially go on sale sometime in April. Continue on for more details. More »

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sundance logo 2014Sundance is over – the winners have been announced and filmmakers of all types are leaving the small town of Park City in droves — however, for many, things are just beginning. This festival has a way of inspiring young filmmakers to jump out of their seats and grab their cameras, but probably the biggest question that’s asked in the very beginning is, “What camera should I buy?” One way to answer that is to find out what pros are using on projects that closely resemble yours, which is why this list, compiled by Indiewire, of the cameras used by this year’s Sundance Film Festival filmmakers is an excellent resource in learning our (future) peers and colleagues’ approach to filmmaking. Continue on for the full list of cameras. More »

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OscarsWe all know that being a filmmaker means a lot more than having an awesome camera. However — it doesn’t hurt. But, how exactly do we gauge the awesomeness of cameras on the market? Well, that depends on your personal definition, but one way would be to look at what the Oscar-nominated filmmakers of 2014 used on their films. Setlife Magazine has shared a trove of technical specifications for the nominated films, including which cameras, lenses, film/digital negatives and prints were used, but let’s just say — one camera maker swept up nice and clean. Find out which one after the jump. More »